Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Become Converted to the Gospel

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Dlamini
Letter #37

Hi Family:

Who is this new Steeze guy? I wanna meet him! ha jk. Everything is already gonna be so different when I get back! When I was in the MTC I remember all of us were talking about how we didn't really think much would change...WRONGO! I'm still curious as to whether or not I will be coming back to a different house?

I'm glad the week was so great! It seems like you have registered Ollie and Sophie in every sport known to man now! When are they gonna choose one!? haha. Is nate still surfing and playing soccer everyday?

Thanks for sharing the spiritual experiences you are having each week. I love it! Last week when Mom talked about the teachings of George Albert Smith in Sunday School we had just done that lesson 2 weeks earlier and she helped me to take a different idea on the things that I had learned. In Sunday School and Priesthood we don't have as many of the insights that I'm used to back home since everybody is so new in the gospel so it's good to hear your thoughts as well.   Also Dad, when you talked about Corinthians, Grandma had sent me a letter with scriptures to study about charity a month ago I think and so I was studying in Corinthians and when you gave me these new meanings in greek I need to go read it again! I've been thinking a lot lately that I want to take spanish when i get home and I still want to but maybe I'm gonna have to also take greek and latin! I've been making a list of classes/talents I want to develop when I get home....It's REALLY big ha. Good thing I don't have to worry about that yet right? One last thing, Alma 26 has become one of my favorite chapters over the past few months. I love how joyful Alma is when we talks about that rials and tribulations they went through to bring the people to a knowledge of God and Jesus Christ. One thing that was interesting to me is in verse 2, he is talking about "since we began..." and I thought, how long has it been since they began? I checked and it goes all the way back to the book of mosiah - 15 years! All I am doing is 2 years. They really did leave everything behind to serve the Lord. I wanna be like Alma and the Sons of Mosiah.

Hahaha mom, now everybody is gonna think that my family is Catholic and that I'm the only member in the family! Did you check Deseret Book for some pictures of Jesus? ;) Hopefully the package with the wrong address still gets here eh? I'll have to check with the mission office on Saturday if it will be okay. We are going to Gabs to run a booth for the biggest fair in the country! The booth will be going all week but the Kanye Elders will be manning it on Saturday. Should be pretty fun! Apparently some of our investigators are going to be there on Saturday also with their friends so hopefully we'll get to talk to them!

Elder Dlamini and I are having a great time here in Kanye. The work is going very well even though we had a reduction in the number of our lessons taught. That is due somewhat to the fact that we were gone for a week and so some of our investigators started to loose some of their commitment. I'm thinking I probably should have a done a lot more calling than I did while in Gabs. The Molebatsi family were confirmed yesterday along with Ashley and Atang! The Molebatsi's weren't around last week cause they were at a family reunion in Francistown and Ashley6 and Atang didn't come last week cause they were too cold... TIB (This is Botswana). Mike and Sazi are doing alright. They didn't come to church because Sazi was not feeling well. Since they have still only been to church once we re-extended a baptismal date for Aug 12. We are really trying to help them gain the sincere desire to read the Book of Mormon. They like reading it but only when we are around, otherwise they are lazy. That's really the only issue with them because they have already told us that they want to be baptized it's just a matter of them actually doing the things they are supposed to instead of just knowing what they have to do. The Gofhamodimo family also did not make it to church because of illness. They are kind of on the same boat as Mike and Sazi in that they have been taught everything and knwo what to do thy just have to start reading and coming to church. We re-extended a date for them as well to be on Aug 12. Should be a good day for me! :D ha. Church attendance is still the biggest difficulty here and we haven't figured a successful way to overcome it yet. One of main goals for this transfer is to start visiting people at least 3 times a week and possibly 4 or 5. I have never really "learned" how to do that even though I've always been told that I should and now Elder Dlamini has come and he is used to doing that. I'm excited though because it will help people remember and feel he spirit much more. Lots of times we come for an appointment and we ask "Do you remember what we talked about last time?" "...no"

We had a great experience while at a member home the other day. We were helping them to learn the member missionary program and we were going around sharing conversion stories focusing on a friend that helped us. Since being a missionary I have realized a lot things that have helped me become converted to the gospel.  At first it just seemed like it narutally came cause I born in the church but I have been able to recognize specific experiences now. One of those I didn't realize until the other night with these members. When it was my turn to share I just joked and said "Ah, I was born in the church" but then I felt bad and tried to think and started to say random stuff that I'm not even sure what I said but as I was talking I slowly came to realize a friend who had helped me. While living in San Jose there were 3 brothers who were huge examples to me. I always wanted to be like them even though 2 of them were younger than me. They were active in church and always happy. I went to church and enjoyed it but didn't get the meaning. Eventually I was able to understand why church was so important because I was always trying to be like these guys. Then we moved to southern California. All of the sudden I was with no friends and was called to be the priests 1st counselor. The new guy was supposed to be the example to all the rest! Luckily I had friends in the past who were examples and so now I knew how to be an example. At least I was more capable than I would have been. There was one in the quorum who I became really good friends with especially this past year since we were together almost everyday for 3 months at least straight. Now of the 5 people talked about including me, one is home from mission, one is on mission, one has his call, one has probably submitted his papers by now (I'll have to find out), and the other will in a couple years ha. And Nate, you will submit your papers in a couple months!! Woot Woot! :D

Well family, it was good talkin to ya. have another great week! I love you too much!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, July 16, 2012

New Companion!!

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Dlamini
Letter #36

Ke mang o batlang go rapela? (who is going to pray?) Setswana vocabulary!

How's it family!? Great things just keep happening back home! Glad you are having such a good time.

This week for me not too much happened. I had to wait in Gabs from Sunday night until Thursday afternoon for the transfers to get sorted out. I wasn't able to do any work in gabs cause the other missionaries that I was waiting with were also from different villages. We cleaned the flat we were staying in so the other elders were happy when they got back! haha.  Even when the other Kanye elders got back on Thursday I just tagged along with them until Saturday til I finally got my new companion who is Elder Dlamini from Swaziland! Elder Dlamini and I are going to have a great time. He has been out for 19 months so he is my oldest companion so far. On Saturday and Sunday we only had 2 lessons cause nobody in our pool was around. It was a bummer. On Sunday we had a lot of lessons planned but then the car got a flat and it turns out that the spare was broken also. We had to deal with that and by the time we were finished it was dark and we had a long ways to walk. It's okay though because now it is a new week and we are gonna get to work today! :D The new Zone Leader in our flat is Elder Stamp from Utah and there is also a new AP who got bumped straight from DL! ha.

Sorry not much to say but that is like everything that has happened this week.  Oh, I did a lot of driving. here is my travel itinerary. Sunday kanye - gabs. Tues gabs - molepolole. Weds molepolole - gabs. Thurs gabs - kanye. Fri kanye - lobatse - gabs - kanye. Sat kanye - lobatse - kanye. SO MUCH DRIVING! I'm over it! haha.

Looking froward to a great week and I hope you have a fabulous week as well! I love you family! You da best!

-Elder Dirkmaat

Monday, July 9, 2012

Molebatsi Family Baptized!!

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Holman
Letter #35


What a great week! Not only were the Molebatsi's baptized yesterday but also a member in the branch had 2 children, 9 and 11, that she wanted us to teach and so they got to be baptized yesterday too! The zone leaders also had one baptism. Their 2 others didn't show up. It was a great week preparing these people to be baptized though! the Molebatsi family has changed so much since I got here and they were definitely ready yesterday. During the service us (the missionaries) and one of the members performed a musical number (brightly beams our fathers mercy) and we also sang half of it in Setswana! It was way fun! I got to baptize the Molebatsi family and also the younger kid, Atang. It was a great experience! Bro. Molebatsi is taller than me and could be a lineman so I was kinda scared but everything ended up alright. The whole branch, when they saw that I was baptizing him started laughing but I did it perfectly. Sister Molebatsi though was a little scary cause she didn't bend her knees or anything just went straight back like a pole ha. Sketch! It was such a great feeling though, right when Ra came up he turns and looks at me and shakes my hand and says thank you with a huge smile on his face. And then afterwards, when they share a short testimony in front of everyone it's so great to hear them sincerely say to everybody else that they know this is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth today.

Transfer news is....elder Holman is going back to South Africa and i am staying here a least one more transfer! Kanye is a sweet area so I'm excited to stay. I think this time i was kinda hopin to go to a new area just cause coming to Kanye was such a great experience even though i didn't want to leave Pretoria. So we are in gabs right now preparing for transfers and transportation and what wha. i have to stay here and wait till my companion comes which is gonna be a while cause I was informed yesterday that he won't be here until Friday! i don't know why, but it is possible that maybe he had visa problems in another mission and so is being transferred here. i just hope that I'm not gonna get a companion who is disobedient and that is the reason he won't be here till Friday. We shall see! The area is gonna be dead though. We have 30 people with a baptism date right now but since i am going to be gone for almost a full week i really hope that it doesn't affect the desires of these people we are teaching. There is one family we are teaching, the Gofhamodimo (gift from god) family, that we found right when I got here. Finally for the first time Ra came to church yesterday and he brought his son and his daughter and his sons friend! Ma is hard hearted and will never leave her church but we are seeing progress from him! He really enjoyed church, especially the kids (they are 17 and 18), and they want to be baptized on the 22nd of July. If all goes well, we could end up having 8 baptisms in the next 6 weeks! I'm a hoping!

Thanks for the game ideas. They seem pretty cool and I think they will help a lot! We are starting the Kanye Monate night next week, Wednesday so we will start thinking about how to use them.
haha funny that Nate has been more sick than me and I'm the one who eats random nasty stuff! i guess not random stuff but there is a lot of unclean food and water. Most of the other missionaries have had the double dragon (diarhea and throw up) just like Nate at least once on mission so far but not me! I'll probs get it this week just cause i said that...

I hope you have fabulous week! I love you all!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D

Monday, July 2, 2012

Kanye Monate Night

Area - Kanye, Botswana
Companion - Elder Holman
Letter #34

Hey! Sounds like you guys had an awesome time for your anniversary! I don't think I ever actually told you happy anniversary but I meant to and I thought about it! So Happy 21st Anniversary! Glad you got to go to such a sweet place! The pictures were great, thanks! Happy 18th birthday to Nate also! How is he 18?? It sounds like Nate is just livin the life! Crazy fun summer trips and scholarships outta nowhere and the summer has only barely begun. Here in Botswana it's supposed to be winter but I'm thinking the winter only lasted like a week and a half cause it's so hot again! As much as I like Botswana I would be so grateful to be back in South Africa by September haha.

It has been an interesting week for us. Elder Holman and I have been doing a great job of having a lot of lessons each week. The more lessons we have the more people that are able to progress and learn the gospel! When I first got here we had around 10-15 lessons a week but now we are having 20+! :D  The Molebatsi's are gonna be baptized on Sunday! Please pray hard that nothing prevents them! They are already practically members and when they get baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost they are gonna see so much more progress in the their knowledge and understanding of the Gospel. I'm super excited for them cause they've been waiting so long and have just been being stubborn about tithing. Now, since we have concentrated a lot on building their faith and helping them feel the spirit, paying tithing isn't such a big deal anymore.

At first when I got my camera stolen I didn't really think much of it, kinda just whatever, i can do without, but each week without it makes me pain so much cause there are so many things that I want to take pictures of! Especially the people and places that i go so that you can see them also!

We are also hoping that Mike and Sazi will be able to be baptized this month on the 22nd and also the Kgaretsi family on that same day. Mike and Sazi finally made it to church! They were an hour late but that's okay. The Kgaretsi's are gonna be tough for that day cause of how busy they have been recently but with hard work and faith it shall be done!

BTW, church was fantastic this week. We had a branch council meeting on Saturday in which we discussed all the things that need to be done. One of those things was time management and the other important thing was fellowshipping. Time management is now a check. Church yesterday started at 10 and not 10:24, each class started at 5 past the hour and we were out at exactly 2. Perfect! Everything was so smooth and it's amazing how much more you can feel the spirit when everything is under control. It felt really nice. On the fellowshipping, the branch is finally getting solid leadership. The branch used to be strong and I don't know what happened but it fell apart and tons went less active. It is now pretty solid again. We are going to start having what is called Kanye Monate Night every weds at 6 where anybody can come and bring friends and there will be songs a short spiritual thought and fun and games. Which means I need ideas and even games sent to me! We have to have fun things to do each week. Any fun games you like to do like EFY games, FHE games, scripture games, card and board games. Whatever! Let me know! Send an email with your idea to robert.dirkmaat@myldsmail.net ASAP! This branch is going to be a branch where everybody knows everybody and people want to bring their friends to activities and to church.

Two crazy things that happened this week. On Tuesday we woke up to our power being out. We ran out of electricity and had to go buy more. We bought electricity and went to enter it into our machine and it didn't work! By the time we figured out that we had to go to the main power station it was too late cause they were closed. No worries, even though the power ended up being out for 30+ hours we still managed to cook our food cause I made a nice fire pit in the back yard! Dinner and breakfast on the fire! I actually would love it if we could do that more often. Anyway, we burned the crap out of the pans and pots and one of the handles fell off ha but we ate! The power guys came in the afternoon Wednesday and replaced our box and then I had to spend P200 for power the rest of the transfer so I've been broke! ha. The other crazy thing: We were walking home Thursday night and there is a bar close to our flat and on the main road they have sewage ditches. We didn't see this happen but there was a truck that was going way too fast and drunk and he hit the ditch and flipped his car over to the other side. All the locals were crowded around not knowing what to do. Since the guy wasn't hurt we just called emergency and left. Nobody would listen to us when we told them to stay away from the car which was upside down on the side of a hill. First time I've been that close to a flipped car.

I thought of another thing you could put in a package: a Pilot G2 Superfine point pen. That would be nice ha. 

Glad you are well family have a fantastic week! Talk to ya next time! :D Love you all!

-Elder Dirkmaat :D